La Dolce Vita At This Italian Countryside-Inspired Holiday Home In Kerala

  • 31 Oct '23
  • 12:30 pm by Beverly Pereira

Classic Italian style or Sprezzatura, as it is known in fashion circles,— embraces the idea of restraint and imperfection. Appearing effortless yet well put together, the look is fuss-free but beautiful, sometimes imperfect yet functional. Symbolising a perfection of the art of nonchalance, Sprezzatura has quite naturally trickled into the world of home decoration.

Conjuring up a relaxed, live-in look for the home brings with it a certain charm that when executed masterfully can quite magically evoke a chic, sleek aesthetic tinged with an unpremeditated drama and flair. As laid back as the aesthetic seems, achieving it at home without a hint of pretentiousness is easier said than done. A recent project by the Kochi-based Workers of Art design studio is a refreshing example of just this. When entrusted with crafting a holiday home for a client with a deep love for Italy’s countryside and architectural moments, the outcome was purely that of cultural appreciation.

Kitted out with sleek matte black Fima Carlo Frattini fittings, the monotone powder room in the master bedroom brings in stunning views of the backwaters. (Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala of The Fishy Project)

This holiday home for a family from Chennai is perched 110 feet above the ground in the town of Edakochi, enveloped by breathtaking views of the backwaters and far-reaching, ever-changing landscapes. Aptly dubbed ‘Perched,’, the 3,000-square-foot home was designed and executed by Priya Rose and Rahul Mathew, founders of the architectural practice Workers of Art.


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Huge swathes of Travertine marble are elegantly employed throughout the home, starting at the foyer that sits central to the home’s day and night zones. (Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala of The Fishy Project)

Materiality is placed at an all-time high in this elegantly rustic, breezy, and light-filled home. From spaces swathed in Travertine marble and others wrapped in the warmth of cream-toned walls, to the thoughtful curation of iconic pieces of furniture and chic Italian bathroom fittings  the home plays to a distinctly rich and, timeless aesthetic that dips into the overarching design language crafted by Workers of Art. In certain areas of the home, both the floors and walls were treated with Travertine marble to create the illusion of seamlessness and spaciousness.

The atmospheric home is centred around the length of a corridor that guides the dwellers through different zones. This ‘backbone’ conceptually segregates the home into day and night zones. While the sun-drenched day zone holds the living room, an outdoor deck, and two bedrooms, the night zone is home to the master bedroom.

The Olo trio of sculptural coffee tables by Mogg lends shape to the neutral living room. (Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala of The Fishy Project)

In the communal day zone, oriented towards the scenic backwaters and unobstructed views of the horizon beyond, the living room draws from a soothing palette of natural hues. Here, walls coated with a natural mortar comprising an aerated lime base respond to the ever-changing light. Art by Madhukar Mahajan, the Goa-based Siddharth Kerkar, Mohammed Imtiaz, and artisanal tapestry by Bela Shanghvi add layers of intrigue to this space.

Travertine marble flooring perfectly complements the natural colour scheme and provides the ideal backdrop for striking pieces of furniture, sculptural art, a floor lamp by Spoon Lighting, and a custom rug by Neytt. An Arketipo Night Fever couch sits alongside other iconic pieces like the Gamma couch and Ditre Italia Linear swivel chair, beautifully uplifted by Sarita Handa cushions. “Sculptural art and furniture play a significant role in enhancing the ambience of this residence. Each piece has been carefully curated to harmonise with the overall design language. These choices facilitate a dynamic seating layout, accommodating up to 15 individuals at a time,” says Mathew.

The geometric-patterned Royalton sideboard by Cattelan Italia lends a modern touch to the dining room. (Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala of The Fishy Project)

Further along the corridor, the dining room with its fluid oakwood P&J dining table by Lago shares a wall with the kitchen. A sense of cohesiveness with the living room pervades this social zone, too, thanks to the generous use of Travertine marble, wood, and mirrors with organic forms. “The strategic placement of mirrors throughout the residence amplifies views and enhances the sense of space,” Mathew explains.

The master bedroom is a study of modern-rustic chic. (Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala of The Fishy Project)

As one transitions into the night zone for solitude or slumber, the master bedroom with its private balcony beckons. The team at Workers of Art beautifully integrated a study table unit within the headboard of a LeComfort bed. Comfortable bed linen in low-key colours and a woollen olive throw exude a sense of coastal chic, while antiques by Crafters bring in touches of old-world charm.’


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Deluxe brass fittings by Fima Carlo Frattini complement the dramatic master bath, while matte black fittings lend a sleek edge to the powder room. (Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala of The Fishy Project)

If the master bedroom evokes the charm of the Amalfi Coast, the dramatic master bath and powder room heightens it with the masterful application of materiality, lighting, and colour schemes. The master bath is an immersive private space fitted with dark Terrazzo slabs that envelope the entire volume.

Deluxe brass fittings by Italian brand Fima Carlo Frattini add a tastefully opulent touch and uplift the senses. The monotone powder room in the master bedroom features sleek matte black fittings “The fusion of form and function in these artful elements elevates the overall aesthetic, creating a welcoming and immersive environment,” says Mathew on the collaboration between Workers of Art and Fima Carlo Frattini.

A bedroom in the day zone echoes the generous use of stone, wood, and stained cement oxide walls. (Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala of The Fishy Project)

Back in the day zone, two bedrooms with balconies are strategically designed to maximise natural light. The ample use of wood paired with warm neutral-toned walls and soft furnishings offsets the pared-back grey accents in one of the bedrooms.

The client’s recollections of architectural elements, such as beige travertine stone and distinctive wall mouldings, played a pivotal role in shaping the design narrative. The warm, almost sunset, hue of the stained cement oxide walls was achieved, complementing the surrounding blues and greens,” says Mathew.

The second bedroom in the day zone comes with a bathroom featuring a vanity seamlessly incorporated into an elongated bathroom counter. (Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala of The Fishy Project)

Ultimately, Perched is a home thoughtfully designed to suit the needs of its inhabitants. Deeply rooted in location and materiality, the project illustrates how storytelling through architecture and the surrounding landscape can evoke eternal intrigue and a sense of tranquillity.


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